Gentry scores 20 in win at West

Published 9:12 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Davie’s varsity girls basketball team kept the good times rolling on Jan. 6. The War Eagles marched into Clemmons and beat West Forsyth 50-35, giving them seven wins in eight games and a three-game winning streak in the Central Piedmont Conference.

It’s the finest eight-game stretch since 2014-15.

“I was very proud of how they performed,” coach Lindsey Adams said. “I think our girls outplayed them, were super physical and executed the game plan very well.”

Davie rode a roaring start to the second win over West in 18 tries. It raced to a 10-2 lead by getting buckets from Somer Johnson, Peyton Spaugh and Malayka Rankin, who twice cut to the hoop and twice scored on passes from Kenadi Gentry and Lauren Colamarino.

The margin swelled to 19-6. Spaugh picked a ball handler’s pocket and took off for a layup. Then Spaugh hit a 3. Davie had the 13-point lead when Rankin hit a pair of free throws.

Davie took a 23-12 lead to halftime behind Spaugh’s eight steals and 2-for-2 shooting and Rankin’s seven steals.

“That’s our bread and butter,” Adams said of the massive number of takeaways. “If you don’t play defense, you are not playing.”

In the third quarter, the War Eagles went 0 for 9 on two-point shots. They were able to maintain a working margin because of their stout defense and because of their confident 3-point shooting.

Gentry hit a 3 as she was fouled, and she completed a four-point play at the line. Johnson’s 3 interrupted West’s 11-4 run and stopped Davie’s field-goal drought (0 for 10). And Gentry’s trifecta restored a 33-23 lead.

But the Titans (7-7, 2-3 CPC) had enough game to draw within 33-26.

“I told them: ‘They’re at home, it’s a rival game and they want to beat you. Expect them to come out strong (in the second half),’” Adams said.

The home fans were getting loud, but just when it looked as if the War Eagles were in for a four-quarter game, they came up with a 15-3 knockout blow. Gentry was in a zone at this point, scoring on a blow-by drive to the basket and scoring again after stealing a pass. She used a stutter-step to get open, then drained a pull-up jumper.

Up 48-29, Davie was on it way to winning comfortably.

The War Eagles did not shoot great (30 percent), but they compensated by drilling 19 of 25 free throws, most of them coming in the fourth quarter.

“Wednesday we focussed on offense,” Adams said. “We did free-throw conditioning for 20 minutes. We ran for missed free throws. I think that really helped us tonight, being able to shoot free throws when you’re gassed.”

Gentry made the difference, scoring 20 points on efficient shooting (6-13 overall, 3-6 from 3-point range). She was one shy of her career high, having hit the 21 mark twice last year. She also had six steals.

“At the beginning of the season, Kenadi kind of struggled with her role,” Adams said. “You never know who’s going to be hot. At the beginning of the season, I told her: ‘You don’t have to do it all now.’ Now she’s seeing she can give it up and get assists. She’s getting tons of steals as well.”

Johnson went 4-4 at the line and scored 11. Spaugh collected seven points and 10 steals. Rankin put up six points, seven steals and two charges on defense. Colamarino contributed four points, five boards, two assists and two steals against her former team. Bailey Aderhold chipped in two points.

Notes: Davie, which went 1-2 against West last year, had lost 16 of 17 in the series. … Davie (9-6, 3-2) is tied for third. East Forsyth and Reynolds are tied for first at 4-1. Davie and Parkland are both 3-2. … The top five scoring averages: Johnson 10.7, Gentry 10.5, Rankin 7.8, Spaugh 6.3 and Colamarino 5.4.